Video by Jonathan Gonzalez
California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 131 Saturday, completing the California Dream Act, which will allow undocumented immigrant students access to apply for state-funded financial aid.
AB 131 is the second half of a bill that included AB 130, which was signed in July. AB 130 allowed the same students access to privatized funding. The bill will take effect July 1, 2013.
“Going to college is a dream that promises intellectual excitement and creative thinking,” Brown said in a press release.
The act will affect about 2500 students who will now be eligible for CalGrants, according to the California Department of Finance. The cost to the program will be $14.5 million, or roughly 1 percent of the $1.4 billion that CalGrants is funded at.
The bills, which were sponsored by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo (D-Los Angeles), are also the most high-profile act to give undocumented students access to higher education funds after the federal Dream Act, which failed to gain ground in Congress last year.
With the new law, California joins other states, including Texas and New Mexico, that have laws allowing public funding for undocumented students seeking higher education. Illinois also passed their version of the dream act in August. However, other states like Alabama have passed bills to strengthen their immigration laws, in response to the failure of the federal Dream Act.
“The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us,” Brown said.
AB 131 can be downloaded here.